Comics Load: Six Packs and Psychopaths

The holidays are coming, but you wouldn’t know it in this week’s comics, which are completely devoid of any sort of holiday cheer. Instead, we have vivisection, prostitution, murder and a disemboweled partridge in a pear tree. Luckily, I also downloaded a collection of holiday-themed Archie comics. So, you go ahead and read about the horror and despair below, and I’ll spike some nog and curl up with some old-fashioned Americana. We’ll see how long I can stomach Riverdale’s ultra-white Christmas, before I come running back to the cannibals of Gotham. Look for my Archie review next week. In the meantime, enjoy!


Title: Action Comics #4

Written by: Sholly Fisch, Grant Morrison

Pencils: Rags Morales, Brad Walker

Inks: Rick Bryant, Sean Parsons
I rather like this new Clark Kent and Superman. Clark is the scrappy freedom fighter, battling corruption and the uneven balance of power in Metropolis. Superman is his all-powerful alter ego. While Clark uses his reporting to scare the bad guys; Superman uses his strength. I also like Superman’s “Bitch, please” attitude whenever anyone tries to take him on. I can live without bottled cities, though. I feel like I’ve seen enough bottled city drama to last a lifetime. Since this is a relaunch, why not ditch some of these old tropes and go for something new? How about a planet of bottles who must fight off an invading force of ship-building enthusiasts who want to kill ‘em and fill ‘em with tiny models of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria? Take that, bottle planet!

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man #675

Written by: Dan Slott

Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inks: Klaus Janson

Colored by: Frank D’Armata
I’m not the biggest fan of Giuseppe’s art. All of his men look demonic, which works great for villains like the Vulture, but not so much for heroes and anti-heroes like Peter Parker and Daken. Dan Slott’s story is great, though. In fact, it’s one of the best single issues I’ve read in a long time. Great stuff with Carly, MJ, Peter and the Vulture, as well as a satisfying B story about the Vulture’s newest minion. A great issue that hits all the strongest point of Spidey’s awkward and challenging superherodom/personal life.

Title: The Boys #61

Written by: Garth Ennis

Art by: Russ Braun

Colors by: Tony Aviña
I once wrote a paper comparing The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis to David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me. Specifically, I was intrigued by how the inevitability of a hero’s destiny affects not only plot structure and foreshadowing, but also the audience’s perception of the events of the story. The Boys is starting to feel the same. You know something big and bad and tragic is coming, and people are going to die. There’s an inevitability to it, which renders us, the audience, helpless. And if you are helpless to stop a train wreck, for example, what do you do? Just watch? Things can only get worse from here, so I’m tempted to just wrap the story up in my head, put a happy ending on it, and wait for a movie version to do the same. Although, at least once before the end, I’d like for Butcher and Hughie to just have sex and put an end to the tension once and for all. 

Title: Detective Comics #4

Written by: Tony Daniel

Pencils: Tony Daniel

Inks: Sandu Florea
I’m wondering if a younger, shirtless Commissioner Gordon makes the whole relaunch worthwhile. It’s certainly a compelling reason for new readers to pick up the comic. If they’ve been holding back because of the history and complexity of the Battyverse, some nice pecs on a ginger DILF might just do the trick. In the interest of full disclosure, he is now missing a kidney, which I’m sure will come back to haunt him later. I imagine the Joker (with a new face) will show up on Barbara’s doorstep and shoot her in the kidneys. She’ll need a transplant, but Jim won’t be able to help, because he’s down to one. So, it will be up to Dick or maybe Stephanie Brown to save her. Oh DC, you so crazy.

Title: Huntress #3

Written by: Paul Levitz

Pencils: Marcus To

Inks: John Dell
Not only are beautiful supermodels being kidnapped from tumultuous Middle Eastern countries and sent to Italy to become prostitutes and slaves, they’re also forced to deliver awkward exposition. Check out this soliloquy a captive beauty shares with some visiting cops, while Huntress conveniently eavesdrops outside a soundproof plate-glass window: “Speak no ill of our guest, officer…Did not your government promise to care for him while he surveys Pompeii for his father’s meeting with your diplomats?” Whew! And she did it in Italian! Or Arabic. I’m not sure. To her credit, Huntress is fabulous enough to overcome this sort of silliness. Still, I think she’s smart enough to use some detective work, you know, like Batman. She doesn’t have to always be eavesdropping like a nosey maid in order to solve crimes. 

Title: Stormwatch #4

Written by: Paul Cornell

Art by: Miguel Sepulveda

Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Four issues in, and we’re still defining the characters in the most stilted way possible. “Hey, Jack Hawksmoor, your power is talking to the spirit of cities, or something, so can you talk to the spirits and see how they feel about being obliterated by meteors that might also contain aliens?” Or “Hey, Projectionist, your power is interacting with all media, can you please erase all knowledge or warning of meteors heading to earth?” Despite the repeated reminders of everyone’s odd powers, I still have no idea what’s going on. Something about the moon wanting to “V for Vendetta” the Earth into being a strong, fearless planet. Frankly, I’m just reading for the Apollo and Midnighter relationship, which at least got a little development in this issue, with a punch to the face, then a tender rub. You know how the gays are.

Title: X-23 #18

Written by: Marjorie Liu

Art by: Sana Takeda
Sana Takeda did the art for this issue, and it couldn’t be more gorgeous. Dreamy, ethereal, but full of action and emotion, it’s the perfect fit with Liu’s often minimalist dialogue and supressed emotion. I have to say, though, that I warned Laura to stay away from those Future Foundation freaks. Our contraction-challenged heroine paid no heed, though, and got swept up in their bizarre, cultish trap and their creepy-ass children. Somehow, the brats opened a time portal that brought a dragon to Manhattan from whatever time period dragons are from (the 50s maybe?). Before Laura can save the kids and vanquish the dragon, Hellion intervenes and all of them are somehow transported to a holodeck on a ship in space somewhere. Hopefully, this is setting up Laura’s next mini-series, “X-23: In Space!” Can Laura save the kids, get the guy and return to the FF compound before Mr. and Mrs. Freakshow come home and Marvel cancels her series? Take the spaceship and run, Laura.

Title: X-Factor #228

Written by: Peter David

Art by: Leonard Kirk

Colored by: Matt Milla
Finally, Layla is good for something: ressurecting her friends into soulless abominations. Well, who needs a soul anyway? I gave up mine ages ago, and besides never getting the right drink order at Starbucks, I haven’t noticed any major side effects. More interesting, though, is what Peter David does with this latest revelation, giving each of the X-Factor misfits a chance to weigh in and reveal whatever sense of morality or faith they possess. Time is running out for Madrox, though. Will Layla bring him back or let him rest in pieces? Do I even have to ask?

What comics are rocking your world this week? Let us know in the comments!


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